EVIDENCE that Gilmore is being targeted by the ALP was presented on Sunday with a whistle stop visit by the Deputy Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
With Labor candidate Neil Reilly, Mr Albanese inspected the new cancer care centre in Nowra which is due to officially open in October.
Curiously, the media were not allowed into the centre, a decision that rested with the NSW Health Department.
Mr Albanese would not be drawn when asked whether the media lockout was a political decision by the NSW government.
“That’s a decision that’s up to them and certainly they can explain the reasons for that. I actually think in terms of publicising this facility it would be a good thing if local members of the community got to see what’s been delivered,” Mr Albanese said.
The Deputy Prime Minister used the visit to pitch his party’s health care credentials.
“It’s a great example of Labor infrastructure investment in action, particularly here in regional Australia.
“This investment of more than $24 million will provide for this region – for the whole South Coast – a state of the art cancer facility. It’s part of an investment of more than half a billion dollars nationally that we’ve made – 26 regional cancer centres providing state of the art health assistance to those who need it so that they can stay close to where they live rather than having to travel to Sydney or Melbourne to a big capital city CBD hospital,” Mr Albanese said.
“I’m sure that if we are re-elected in two weeks’ time – and Gilmore is one of the seats we’re hoping to pick up at the election – then Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister would be very honoured to come back here and open the facility.”
Optimistic about Labor’s prospects in Gilmore, Mr Albanese took a swipe at former member turned Shoalhaven mayor, Joanna Gash.
“The feedback I’ve had from the community is that there’s a bit of angst about the fact the retiring member retired a bit early, went and became a full-time mayor and hasn’t continued on with a federal MP’s job, which surely is full-time.
“I think that says something about the way the Liberal Party have taken this community for granted. I think this community deserves better than being taken for granted.”
Mr Albanese also warned of a digital divide if the Coalition won government and scaled down the rollout of the National Broadband Network.
“Here in Nowra there are 9000 homes and businesses being rolled out for the national broadband network as we speak; there’s another 15,000 where work is due to commence in the next 12 months. If the Coalition is elected on September 7 that work will stop. We will see a digital divide here in Nowra whereby 9000 homes people have access to high speed broadband and 15,000 homes and businesses miss out.”
Reilly accuses council of political bias
IN a stinging rebuke to Shoalhaven City Council general manager Russ Pigg, Labor candidate Neil Reilly has refused to answer questions about his party’s policies.
Mr Pigg wrote to all candidates recently, asking them to give assurances on a range of local issues.
Over the weekend Mr Reilly wrote back, accusing council of political bias:
“I see now, that this was a blatant political scheme fashioned by a council whose political bias is so overwhelmingly prejudiced that your mayor not only assists and endorses her employee as a candidate, she presents her name and her image on the candidate’s posters.”